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Friday, August 10, 2007

One of the best basketball players in the world loves soccer: Steve Nash

I was first alerted to this development by a post in the excellent blog, "This is American Soccer," by Adam Spangler. Prior to this, I had read that Steve Nash was a passionate soccer fan. In fact, last winter, the took the entire Phoenix Suns to a game at Milan's San Siro to see AC Milan.

Mr. Nash plays in a New York City amateur league during his off-season from the NBA. Today in the New York Times, Nathanial Vinton wrote an intriguing article about one of the premier global athletes and his previously not well-known penchant for the black and white ball.

Mr. Nash plays for Promotion Factory, which is an amateur side comprised mostly of Italians. He also competes for Phebe (the team sponsor who is a bar and grill) in the Pier 40 recreation league.

"Standing on the sideline with his children, (Claudio) Reyna, who was captain of the United States national team in last summer’s World Cup, said Nash was an excellent soccer player.

'He’s got the vision like on the court,' Reyna said. 'When you have vision in soccer, you can connect the pass. It’s the same idea. You can see that from playing basketball, and also from growing up playing soccer, he understands the game.'

Soccer was Nash’s first love — he said his first word as an infant was goal. His father played professionally in South Africa and England, his sister was the captain of her university team, and his younger brother, Martin, has played on Canada’s national team.

'I think my dad, more than anything, gave me the passion,” Nash said later, in a telephone interview Tuesday night. “I remember sitting on the steps waiting for him to come home, and we’d be playing in the backyard before he even had his tie off.' ” (1)


(1)"It's a Vision Thing for Nash in Soccer and Basketball," New York Times, 10 August 2007.

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